Success at an interview can all depend on preparation. Going in to the room, you should already have an idea of the kind of question you're going to get asked – for competency interviews for example, these could include sharing your experiences of working on multiple projects at once, dealing with difficult situations, or working as part of a team. Have good examples prepared, using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
Interview Tip 1: Prepare for common questions
Preparation can help you to feel relaxed on the day. By having some answers ready to common interview questions, you won't be caught by surprise on the day. Make sure you prepare for the following:
Tell me about yourself
Why do you want this job?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why do you want to leave your current role?
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
That's just a flavour of the questions you'll have to answer. If you want to find out more, we've compiled a range of tips on how to answer common interview questions.
Interview Tip 2: The initial hello
You want to come across as calm, positive and friendly, so make sure you smile and speak confidently, and why not say something like "Thanks for taking the time to see me".
Interview Tip 3: The little things
Before you start, really make sure you're comfortable. Take off any coats or scarves, put your bag down, and get anything out that you might need (for example, your notebook). Then take a deep breath, you're ready to begin.
Interview Tip 4: Answer the question
It may sound silly, but you'd be surprised how many people don't actually answer what's asked. They often hear a key word and go deviating off-topic, completely forgetting what they were talking about by the time they've finished. While showing eloquence and confidence, it may drop you points on attention to detail, relevance, and listening skills. It's important to take your time, and if necessary, repeat part of the question back to your interviewer to confirm you've understood it. No-one minds if you take a couple of seconds to think, it's more beneficial for everyone to give a well-thought through answer, rather than rushing something because you want to answer quickly.
Interview Tip 5: Know when to stop
Another slip-up people make is carrying on talking after they've given their answer, as they feel they should fill the silence. Savvy interviewers sometimes leave a pause just to see how the interviewee will react under the pressure. Be confident in what you've said, and know when you've finished.
Interview Tip 6: Asking questions
Asking questions of your interviewer is expected now and it can be quite daunting. Research the company well and look at resources as to the best interview questions you can ask and make them relevant for the job you are interviewing for. Make sure you have them prepared and they are valuable to both you and the interviewer to get a gauge of your interest in the company and the role.
Interview Tip 7: At the end
Thank your interviewer(s), by name if possible, shaking their hand and looking into their eyes, as this helps make a good final impression. Be confident, you've probably done really well!